O'HARA: Lions' draft grade goes on Martin Mayhew's report card

Posted May 5, 2014

Martin Mayhew has put the target on his back for whoever wants to grade the Lions’ performance in this week’s draft.

Martin Mayhew has put the target on his back for whoever wants to grade the Lions’ performance in this week’s draft.

Whether it’s praise or criticism, pass or fail, the grade goes on his report card.

Starting with the first round Thursday night, everyone involved in the process – from ownership to the front office, scouting department, coaching staff and medical evaluations – will have a say before the Lions turn in their card on a player.

The final draft grade is the product of a collective effort involving coaches, scouts and the front office. But at his pre-draft press conference Monday afternoon, Mayhew left no doubt that the decision is made by one man – Mayhew.

“Ultimately, it’s my decision who we take,” Mayhew said. “You won’t hear, ‘The coach wanted this guy.’ It doesn’t matter. I have to decide who it is.

“My name gets attached to that guy, which I found that out. No matter who that guy is, that’s the guy I drafted. It’s not a guy somebody else drafted.”

The point of the draft is to get the best players possible to build the roster, not establish blame or praise. But it’s also important to know who’s in charge, and if there was any doubt, Mayhew clarified that issue.

Before he took any questions, Mayhew made a statement that contrary to some media reports, the Lions have no interest in trading defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. There has been speculation that Suh might be on the trade block because of his contract demands, and they’ve been heightened by his absence from the voluntary offseason workouts and mini-camp.

Mayhew also said that he expects Suh is following the same personal workout program that he had the last three years.

Keeping in character, Mayhew offered nothing particularly illuminating about which position the Lions are targeting for the 10th pick Thursday night – or any pick in any of the seven rounds.

Mayhew has been an aggressive trader since taking control of the draft in 2009 in his first full season as GM.

A wild card this year is how many quarterbacks will be drafted with the nine picks ahead of the Lions – assuming Mayhew does not trade up or down.

The only consensus on quarterback class is that it does not have a true franchise-caliber prospect. Aside from that, opinions on the number of quarterbacks possibly taken in the first nine picks range from three to none.

The Lions have ranked their top 10 players, and it does not include a quarterback because they aren’t looking to draft one in the first round.

“We’ll have our 10, and we’ll know who our guy is no matter how many quarterbacks come off,” Mayhew said.

There is so much pre-draft build up that a new report or rumor surfaces almost by the minute. Mayhew says he doesn’t send out smokescreens, but he keeps abreast of reports of what other teams supposedly are doing. And he has his network of people he trusts from other teams.

“You spend some time on that and talking to people around the league, other GMs you have a good relationship with, and try to decipher that,” he said. “The important thing is, you prepare for every scenario.”

So how many GMs does he trust?

“None,” Mayhew said. “But you can listen to what they say.”